“holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result.”
The passage goes…
“Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.”
The Message Translation
“holding out and offering to everyone the word of life”
“holding up the word of life”
“offering them the words of eternal life”
“holding fast the word of life”
This is the great commission right here.
Go into all the world and preach the gospel ~ or ~ hold out and offer to everyone the word of life, hold up the word of life ~ offer them ~ hold fast the word of life.
When it’s put so simply, it really puts things in perspective. If you have the words of life, don’t you want to give them to as many as you can?
We also offer people ‘words of life’, but I think is a slightly different meaning to ‘handing out THE word of life’. The emphasis here is mine.
‘Words’ of life are words of encouragement, affirmation, etc but the ‘the word of life’ is the gospel, the good news, words of eternal life.
This isn’t just for Pastors or leaders, it’s part of the great commission to us ALL
Some notes from Albert Barnes:
Who? This isn’t just for Pastors or leaders, it’s part of the great commission to us ALL. We all are bound to do this…
not only because God commands it, but:
(1) Because they are called into the church that they may be witnesses for God, Isa 43:10.
(2) Because they are kept on the earth for that purpose. If it were not for some such design, they would be removed to heaven at once on their conversion.
(3) Because there are no others to do it. The frivolous ones will not warn the fools, nor will the proud warn the proud, nor the scoffer the scoffer. The thoughtless and the vain will not go and tell others that there is a God and a Saviour; nor will the wicked warn the wicked, and tell them that they are in the way to hell. There are none who will do this but Christians; and, if they neglect it, sinners will go unwarned and unalarmed down to death. This duty rests on every Christian.
(1) They are to do it by example. Everyone is to hold forth the living word in that way.
(2) By efforts to send the gospel to those who have it not. There is almost no one who cannot contribute something, though it may be but two mites, to accomplish this.
(3) By conversation. There is no Christian who has not some influence over the minds and hearts of others; and he is bound to use that influence in holding forth the word of life.
(4) By defending the divine origin of religion when attacked.
(5) By rebuking sin, and thus testifying to the value of holiness. The defense of the truth, under God, and the diffusion of a knowledge of the way of salvation, rests on those who are Christians. Paganism never originates a system which it would not be an advantage to the world to have destroyed as soon as it is conceived. Philosophy has never yet told of a way by which a sinner may be saved. The world at large devises no plan for the salvation of the soul. The most crude, ill-digested, and perverse systems of belief conceivable, prevail in the community called “the world.” Every form of opinion has an advocate there; every monstrous vagary that the human mind ever conceived, finds friends and defenders there. The human mind has of itself no elastic energy to bring it from the ways of sin; it has no recuperative power to lead it back to God. The world at large is dependant on the church for any just views of God, and of the way of salvation, and every Christian is to do his part in making that salvation known.
Something else strikes me about this passage…
“offering to everyone the word of life,
“so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly”
“because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result.”
He had great reason to rejoice and his race was not run in vain, because he had offered everyone the word of life!
This answers the question, as to what a great part of our purpose in life is…. he had reason to rejoice because he did not run or race in vain. This is the most meaningful thing for a Christian.
Much of what humanity values and respects are money and fame, people who seem to have accomplished much in business, medicine, discoveries etc These kinds of things seem like the noblest endeavors, wherein Gods eyes, a great accomplishment is sharing the gospel and giving out the words of life.
Can you find a way to offer someone the word of life today? When you put it in these terms, it doesn’t sound half as challenging. The words of life are a simple truth.
Share them as such. If there are questions to be answered and you don’t know the answer, there is no shame in saying ‘I will check into that and come back to you on it. That might be as simple as finding a link on the internet to answer the question or a sermon on the topic or find someone who knows.
It’s only our responsibility to offer the words of life. We don’t need to force them down someone’s throat!!! And, it is the Lord’s work to move on those words, and cause them to come to life and work in that person’s life.
If you get to share with someone, then keep that person in your prayers. God will be at work there. He is faithful to his word.
~ Cam Richmond~